transportation department announced Sept. 19 it would begin accepting
bids to overhaul the state's I-81 corridor. Proposals may include
a possible rail corridor to ease tractor-trailer traffic.
Philip Shucet said he anticipated three to seven proposals being
submitted under the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995.
The agreement allows the department to partner with the private
sector to speed up construction of the 325-mile corridor.
a 25-member coalition of builders, engineers and consultants,
submitted a plan in January to widen I-81 to eight lanes. At the
suggestion of VDOT, the coalition included in their proposal adding
two lanes in each direction to be reserved for toll-paying trucks.
the proposal in August in favor of an additional component that
would include moving some freight off the freeway to rail. "Governor
Warner has been supportive of creative solutions such as the one
submitted by Star Solutions to widen I-81," said Shucet.
"But before considering any PPTA proposal, VDOT will complete
by this October a solicitation for PPTA proposals for the entire
325-mile I-81 corridor that will include all possibilities, including
moving freight by rail."
next step on I-81 will be to conduct three open meetings to answer
questions and hear comments from potential proposers and the public.
The meetings will be Oct. 1 in Harrisonburg, Oct. 2 in Roanoke
and Oct. 3 in Abingdon. For more details on the pre-proposal meetings,
click here to go the VDOT
for the private proposals is Jan. 17, 2003. The state will then
select one or more proposals for negotiations by July 11, and
negotiations should be finalized by Sept. 30.